Private Security in Australia: Trends and Key Characteristics
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The use of private security in crime prevention and law enforcement activities has grown to a point where security personnel outnumber police by more than two-to-one. This paper examines the size and scope of the security industry both locally and internationally. Using ABS census data, it provides a detailed and up-to-date picture of the security industry and makes key comparisons with police. Findings show that in Australia in 2006, there were 52,768 personnel employed full-time in the security industry, compared with 44,898 police. A decade previously, police had outnumbered security. When comparing the characteristics of security to police personnel, both industries have similar ratios of male to female employees (approximately 76% to 24% respectively), however security personnel frequently occupy an older age demographic than police, while police are more highly educated and paid. Although available data indicates there are over 5,000 security and investigative businesses registered in Australia, and over 110,000 licenses issued mainly to individuals, five companies make up nearly half of the security industry market share. As the sector is expected to continue to grow, especially with the increase in electronic surveillance and monitoring and cash-in-transit, the paper argues for more precise data on the size and dimensions of the industry that can inform efforts to develop nationally consistent standards and licensing regimes.
Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminology
Copyright 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Private Policing and Security Services